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Drivers notice prices at the gas pump are on the rise, but why?

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MILWAUKEE -- Drivers in southeast Wisconsin may notice the price per gallon of gasoline has bounced up -- and may climb into the weekend.

FOX6 News spoke with Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com. He said gas prices went up already about seven cents per gallon on average. But some stations have seen more significant increases.

DeHaan says the increases come in the wake of an unexpected refinery shutdown at BP's Whiting, Indiana facility. It is responsible for producing a significant amount of gasoline supply for the region.

BP refinery

BP refinery

"This BP refinery is responsible for a significant part of the region’s gasoline supply. The BP refinery supplies thousands of stations that are not BP, and in some cases BP may even supply other oil companies like Shell or Citgo -- any brand of station. This is a huge refinery. The brand doesn’t really take a role. BP may be going up, but so will almost every other gas station. I don’t foresee any stations keeping their prices low," DeHaan said.

DeHaan expects prices to rise for the next one to two weeks before eventually stabilizing. DeHaan says it may be three to four weeks before we see prices return to where they were before the refinery shutdown.

"Gas prices across Milwaukee are currently averaging $2.66 with more and bigger increases set to come, thanks to a weekend unexpected refinery shutdown of the largest refinery in the Midwest -- that being BP's Whiting, Indiana facility which is responsible for producing a significant amount of gasoline supply for the region. We could see prices increasing over one to two weeks before eventually stabilizing and perhaps falling. A timeframe on the falling is tough to nail down. BP hasn't been clear on the extent of the damage and timetable for restoration. It may be several weeks if not a month. So while price increases could last maybe one to two weeks longer, I think prices could return to where they were Monday perhaps by three to four weeks from now, so it may be some time before we see prices return to where they were before this whole mess," DeHaan said.

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The states hit hardest by this shutdown include Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

"This is not a country-wide problem. This is something that's going to hit hardest in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio -- perhaps parts of the Plains. It could reach further as refineries in the Gulf Coast begin to send gas to the Midwest attracted by the high price," DeHaan said.

DeHaan tells FOX6 News that despite the increase, prices per gallon of gasoline are far lower now than they were a year ago.

But you may want to think about filling up soon.

"I went and filled up (Tuesday night). I'd hate to send people out for a rush on the pump and make the situation worse. They may want to look at their driving and scale it back temporarily. If we can all conserve, or if gasoline demand goes down, it will alleviate the problem. Prices are still far lower than a year ago, though they could go up 50 cents a gallon or more over the next week. I'm expecting that once the refinery issue is behind us -- say mid-to-late September, that gas prices will once again plunge. We could be talking about $2/gallon gas or even sub $2/gallon gas by Christmas," DeHaan said.

BP has issued this statement:

"On Saturday, August 8th, the Whiting Refinery in Indiana shut down the largest of its three crude distillation units for unscheduled repair work. The shutdown was executed without incident and according to protocols.

While the rest of the refinery continues to operate safely, the outage has reduced production.

BP is working to safely restart the unit as soon as possible. In the meantime, the company is working to meet its fuel supply obligations."

25 comments

  • Fred

    Makes sense to me, and that has nothing to do with supply and demand. BP lost $$$ last year. They only made $12.1 billion in 2014 compared with $13.4 billion in 2013. If I took that much of a pay cut I’d be looking to make it up this year also. Nobody wants to lose- we want MORE!

    • chris

      Fred do you work for BP? We have been hearing how prices will go to the lowest levels in a long time. Then one day later they shut down? This is lettuce gouging at its finest.

      • Fred

        No, I don’t work for BP. Got the numbers from the BP financial report posted online. I agree, total gouging. Noone will ever convince me that Big Oil doesn’t plan this. I was surprised that their profits were actually down from the prior year. I was used to hearing about “record profits”.

    • Ross

      It seems strange price trickly down very slow and then a problem with one of the companies fuel center and the prices jump 70 cents and very slowly goes back down taking almost 1 month to get back at 2.40 a gallon but only took 4 days to raise. IRS needs to be looking into write off because it appears BP is double dipping. If there is a shortage then why is acaiation and trucking cost not being affected. I know BP is trying to make all the Billions thay lost in Gulf. Why blame us they need to vent there problems out with Hallinburton Services.

  • Harvey Lovejoy

    Amazingly this follows just days after they come out and say that gas prices were about to fall below $2.00 a gallon.

  • mark

    this is total b.s., filled up last night, prices already 50 cents higher this afternoon….price for a barrel of oil? nearing $30

  • $$$

    Unscheduled repair work my a$$! Got a bridge to sell too? They sure know how to jump the prices up 5-10 cents a gallon at a crack but sure don’t bring the prices down that fast. BS at it’s finest.

  • Terry

    Agree with every previous post. Soooo predictable……the last heavy travel time of the summer and ‘lo and behold’ mystery shut down. Talk about a bunch of diliberuate BS to push gas prices up. Why is it that SE Wisconsin always seems to take it in the rear portion on gas issues. Oh yea, assinine EPA regulations and worthless re formulated gas. Hey, how’s the ethanol working out…..really solving those supply and environmental issues isn’t it……NOT! But I digress…..BP can stick it.

  • Ash09

    Hmm, that Prius I bought suddenly seems like a much better investment. Getting 56 mpg and passing up SUV’s on the freeway is kind of an interesting side effect of this spike.

    • Fred

      Good for you. I myself like the power of a big V8 and will pay for the gas to run it. By the way, those big V8’s are hybrid vehicles if you didn’t already know – they burn gas and rubber!
      Just curious, how much does it cost when you have to replace all those big batteries which don’t last forever?

  • jim

    They went up a total of 90 cents in less than a week. Was 2.07 a gal. now 2.99 a gal. That is what I call ripping people off.

  • Dick Trickel

    Amazing, they must think we have stupid stamped on our foreheads. Wow, really? A plant in Indiana slows production down and it only seems to, effect the Midwest? No new plants since 1977, They claim refineries are not controlled by the government… Sure, and Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=29&t=6 There were 140 operable petroleum refineries in the United States as of January 1, 2015. ” It is responsible for producing a significant amount of gasoline supply for the region.” So, what’s up with the other 139 refineries? They run out of toilet paper? I smell BS. But I’m sure Walker is right on top of it……….

  • fm usa (@fmusa)

    NOOoooo, fuel prices didn’t go up a measly few cents, they jumped almost a WHOLE BUCK!
    .
    When your told your water main will be shut off you stock up on buckets and bottles of water.
    Same goes for refineries. WHY wasn’t there a stockpile of fuel before this PLANNED maintenance?
    Just another EXCUSE to raise fuel prices.
    Since prices were so low they need to fictitiously raise prices. GREEDY B’TURDS!
    .

    .

  • tim

    HOW can we have all the top brass, and all the middle men as well the lobbyist all RAPED by RACCOONS for increasing the Oil prices.
    OIL should never below a dollar and never above for LIFE.
    NO matter what happens.

  • Tim

    Just because a repair needed to be done what does that have to do with gas prices going up ? It never was that way in the past. I think like most this is BS and they got us to be-leave that anything that happens will cause gas to go up. We need to get rid of the politicians that allow this and let the new ones know they too will be gone if they side with the oil companies. Same goes for water and electric we need to put our foot down and do what ever to stop this BS.

  • Al

    If everyone in the affected states would only put in the bare min. Stations would be freaking out and wonder why they are loosing profit since they raised the price. But not everyone will do this, it would drive the price back to were it should be. Also did you ever notice the price goes up before a holiday and after, they know you have to get home. Is there plant maintenance then as well.

Comments are closed.